Jesus Junk

During a recent trip to my local christian book store, I found myself drawn to the clearance table. The clearance table offered a veritable treasure trove o’ knick-knacks that had been “redeemed” with “Jesus” labels. I assume that the label was meant to redeem these items, that or they all actually belonged to Jesus and had been labeled with his name so everyone would know they were his. Either way, there was no denying the sanctified nature of this pile of junk.
This got me to wondering as to why anyone needs Jesus nail clippers or exactly what the advantage is for having a scripture verse on my vinyl Bible cover. I suspect the answer cuts deep into the heart of what is wrong with church culture in America.
The issue begins with the nature of self in a consumer driven world. In our world, we buy what we want to be. We wear shirts that tell people what we like. We drive cars that demonstrate our environmental awareness. We eat at restaurants that are endorsed by people we wish we could be. The self begins from the outside and works its way in. If I am a believer, then I need to buy a fish thing for my bumper. I need to buy a t-shirt that tells people. I need to speak Christian code words and phrases. I need to sing songs that emphasize how Christian I am. Basically, I do and buy things based on my desire to be something.
This is the horrific result of spiritual poverty. Believers who live this way have become white washed tombs. They look the part outside, but are dead inwardly. Sure, they feel good about themselves. Plus, they look cool. However, this is far from a measure of true Biblical Christianity. Jesus junk is a symptom of spiritual illness. Matters are worsened by an entrepreneurial spirit that sees the church as the perfect market for praise themed rock band games. Slap a Jesus label on it and Christians will buy it.
The other big problem with this approach is that it treats the name of Christ and the Holy Scriptures in a common manner. Being able to see Jesus’ name while I clip my toenails may be an opportunity for spiritual enlightenment, but it is more so turning the name of Christ into something common. The sacred and the profane ought not be mingled so I can look like a believer.
The solution to this spiritual poverty is simple. It is not to pile up your sacrilegious crap and burn it all. The Jesus junk is not what offends God. What offends God is our pretenses. To act as though we are saved through our image is wrong. The solution is to live from the inside out. We give our heart to Jesus. We allow Him to cleanse our souls. These newly cleaned souls cause us to act new and in harmony/obedience to God. Good works are our image and they are the evidence of a saved soul. Ultimately, when we imitate Christ, we glorify Him far more than we ever could by wearing a clever t-shirt.